Sunday, November 10, 2019

27 Backyard Birds to Know | Wyoming

[2022 Rewrite]

I've put this resource together for you to answer your question: What birds are in my backyard in Wyoming?

This article lists and discusses the identification of the most common birds in your backyard. The birds chosen in this article are compiled from actual data from the citizen science program eBird. Thus, it is more accurate than some other similar articles you may find on the web. I provide pictures of each bird species mentioned. I tell how to attract them to your backyard.


These are the most common backyard birds in Wyoming:

  1. American Robin
  2. Northern Flicker
  3. Red-winged Blackbird
  4. House Sparrow
  5. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  6. House Finch
  7. European Starling
  8. Black-billed Magpie
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. American Crow
  11. Western Meadowlark
  12. Black-capped Chickadee
  13. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  14. Mourning Dove
  15. Mountain Chickadee
  16. American Goldfinch
  17. Common Grackle
  18. Pine Siskin
  19. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  20. Song Sparrow
  21. Cliff Swallow
  22. Violet-green Swallow
  23. Chipping Sparrow
  24. Western Wood-Pewee
  25. Barn Swallow
  26. Mountain Bluebird
  27. Brewer's Blackbird




What's in this article?

  • State overview of birds and bird watching in Wyoming
  • Photos and identification of common backyard birds
  • Most common birds by season
  • Common birds of Cheyenne, Wyoming



Wyoming Birds and Birding in Wyoming State


eBird lists over 440 types of birds as occurring in the state of Wyoming.

The most common bird of Wyoming: the most frequently seen bird in the state is American Robin. It is reported on 37% of bird watching lists.

The official State Bird of Wyoming is Western Meadowlark.


If you are serious about knowing the birds native to Wyoming, then check out eBird for Wyoming. It has recent sightings and photos, illustrated checklists with weekly abundance bar charts for state, counties, and individual hotspots of the best birding locations.

If you want to know about other people interested in birds in your area, join a local bird group. The American Birding Association maintains a list of bird watching clubs for each state.



My other pages for birds in Wyoming:

Red, Orange, & Yellow Birds of Wyoming





Wyoming Bird Identification (Pictures of backyard birds of Wyoming)


This section is the species accounts. These are designed to help you to recognize birds you see in your backyard. I have used eBird to select the birds that are most common. “Common” means the birds seen most often throughout the year, not necessarily the most numerous.

Each species account starts with an image. I have tried to use my own personal photographs of each species, if I have them. But I've done my bird photography mostly in the West. Thus, I've had to rely on others for pictures of some common Eastern birds. I always make sure the bird images (mine and others) are correctly identified.

In the identification section I am using size and shape and bill type before considering the color or patterns on the birds. I find these more reliable when trying to identify an unknown bird. Pay attention to body and tail shape and especially bill shape of birds you see, not just plumage color.

I have written an article on how to identify birds, it is slightly different from other popular identification methods. Check it out if you wish: 7 Steps to Identify Birds.

In the section on bird feeders and foods I tell how to attract each species. Not all types of backyard birds will come to feeders. But all backyard birds can be attracted with water. So don't forget to add a birdbath to your bird feeding station.

Do you live in southern Wyoming? Northern Wyoming? Eastern Wyoming? Western Wyoming? To appear in this article, most birds are widely distributed throughout the state and are often year-round residents. However, for those birds that are more localized in place or time, I list the general region and seasonality. Please see the section following these species accounts for the lists of common species by season.

Even if a species is found in a general area, they occur only in the habitat they prefer. So, the exact habitat of your neighborhood is important for the presence of absence of certain kinds of birds.



1. American Robin

Turdus migratorius

This familiar bird is a resident in the northern half of the United States and a winter visitor in the southern half.


Photo of American Robin
American Robin. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: American Robins are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. 

Size: 10 inches long from bill tip to tail tip. About the same size as a Blue Jay or one of the Scrub-Jays. Larger than Red-winged Blackbird. Smaller than a Mourning Dove. 

Shape: Very plump with a fairly long tail. 

Bill: Straight and fairly slender, curved at the tip. 

Color: Gray-brown upperparts, rusty orange breast.

Habitat, range & behavior: Open woodlands, farmlands, urban parks and lawns. 

Migratory, breeds north across Alaska and Canada. Resident in most of the United States (lower 48). Winters in the United States, Mexico, to central America. 

Hops on your lawn turning head this way and that looking for food. Their caroling song is one of the early signs of spring in the north.

Food and feeder preference: Worms and other invertebrates in the lawn. May eat fruit from a tray feeder or the ground. Eat small berries from trees and bushes.


2. Northern Flicker

Colaptes auratus

Of all the bird identification questions I get asked, this common larger backyard bird is the bird most people ask about. It doesn't occur to those unfamiliar with it that this could be a woodpecker.


Photo of Northern Flicker on a branch
Northern Flicker. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: Northern Flickers are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: About the size of a Mourning Dove. Larger than a robin. 

Shape: Stocky with short legs, short tail, big head. 

Bill: As long as head, thin, slightly curved. 

Color: Back is brown with black bars. Under parts pinkish with black spots. Undersides of black wing and tail feathers are bright salmon red (West) or yellow (East). Head gray (West) or brown (East) and males with red (West) or black (East) whisker marks and nape marks (East). Black crescent across chest. White rump seen in flight.

Habitat, range & behavior: Found in woodland edges and forests. 

Year-round resident from extreme southern Canada, across all of the lower-48 states and in the mountains of Mexico and Middle America. In summer breeds northward well into Canada and Alaska. 

Frequently noted hopping on ground pecking in the ground for insects. In late spring, males proclaim their territory by rapid pounding on a hollow tree branch, though the ringing of metal downspouts at dawn is louder and carries much farther, to the exasperation of anyone trying to sleep inside!

Food and feeder preference: Ants and beetles are their primary foods. Will eat black oil sunflower seeds and are attracted to suet.


3. Red-winged Blackbird

Agelaius phoeniceus

These noisy flocking birds are most often found in marshes. But in winter they are found in backyards.


Photo of singing Red-winged Blackbird
Male Red-winged Blackbird. Greg Gillson.


Photo of female Red-winged Blackbird in tree
Female Red-winged Blackbird. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Red-winged Blackbirds are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird.

Size: About 8-3/4 inches long from bill tip to tail tip. About the size of a Northern Cardinal. Smaller than an American Robin.

Shape: Pot-bellied with a longer bill and flat forehead. Tail average.

Bill: Long and sharp pointed.

Color: Males are black with red and yellow shoulder patch. Females are streaked brown and rusty (sparrow-like but pointed bill and flat forehead).

Habitat, range, and behavior: Cattail marshes and wetlands are their summer habitat. In winter they feed in grain fields.

They breed across most of the North American continent. In winter they withdraw from most of Alaska and Canada.

They are found in colonies in summer and large flocks in winter.

Food and feeder preference: They eat insects in summer. In winter they eat grain and seeds. They visit feeders, more often in large winter flocks, and eat most seeds and suet.


4. House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

Like the starling, this is another bird introduced from Europe in the 1800's. This sparrow is commonly found in cities and farmlands. It is considered a pest in most areas where it has been introduced.


Photo of House Sparrow on feeder with sunflower seed
House Sparrow. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: House Sparrows are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: The size of a House Finch or Dark-eyed Junco. 

Shape: Chunkier than native North American sparrows with large head, barrel chest, short neck, medium tail, short legs. 

Bill: Short, conical. 

Color: Males are brown and gray with a black mask. Females lack the black and are tan and brown with a pale line back from the eye.

Habitat, range & behavior: Cities and farms. 

Range in North American from southern Canada through Central America. In summer northward through Canada to southern Alaska. Originated in Middle East and spread to most of Europe and Asia. Introduced in South America, Africa, Australia--nearly anywhere there are people and cities. 

They tend to be messy... and have a good appetite, and may occur in large noisy chirping flocks. They are aggressive toward other feeder birds.

Food and feeder preference: They eat grain, seed, and insects. To discourage them from your hopper and tray feeders do not feed birds human food scraps. They have a bit of difficulty eating from tube feeders.


5. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

Eurasian Collared-Doves are a rather new addition to the North American avifauna. The spread from introductions in the Bahamas to Florida in the 1980's and continue to spread across the continent in a general northwestern direction. They build up a large local population over a couple of years then fly hundreds of miles to set up new outposts, gradually backfilling.


Photo of Eurasian Collared-Dove on a metal pole
Eurasian Collared-Dove. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: Eurasian Collared-Doves are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: Larger than Mourning Doves. 

Shape: Stocky dove with a full square tail. Bill: Small and rather slender. 

Color: Cream colored with darker primaries. The underside of the base of the tail is blackish with a wide whitish tip. It has a black collar on the hind-neck.

Habitat, range & behavior: Found in residential neighborhoods and farmlands. 

Native to Eurasia. In North America has expanded explosively in past 3 decades. Florida to northern Mexico and north to southern Canada. Not yet common in the Northeastern United States. 

Found on city power lines, poles, adjacent conifers. Social. Noisy, making "coo-coo cook" song and grating rasping call "ghaaaaa."

Food and feeder preference: They eat primarily seeds and grains. Since they are so large they prefer to eat on large platform feeders or on the ground under feeders.


6. House Finch

Haemorhous mexicanus

These are one of the most common backyard birds in the United States. There are other red finches, but these are the ones most likely in residential areas.


Photo of a House Finch in a bird bath
House Finch. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: House Finches are year-round residents in eastern and southern Wyoming, absent elsewhere.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. 

Size: About 6 inches from bill tip to tail tip. Larger than goldfinches and chickadees. Smaller than a White-crowned Sparrows or Spotted/Eastern towhees. 

Shape: Medium build with a medium-long notched tail. Round head. 

Bill: Short, conical. 

Color: Brown and gray above with streaks on the sides of the pale underparts. Males with red (sometimes orange or rarely yellow) crown, chest, rump.

Habitat, range & behavior: You'll find small flocks on wires, in short tree tops and in bushes. Originally deserts and grasslands. Rural areas and towns are where they're now most common. 

Formerly found in the western United States and Mexico. Then introduced into the northeastern United States, but now found in nearly all of the lower-48 states and extreme southern Canada. Rare in plains states (Dakotas to Texas) and southern Florida. 

House Finches are not territorial, but males sing throughout the year--a lively, wiry song ending in a couple of buzzy notes.

Food and feeder preference: House Finches love sunflower seeds and tube feeders. May eat from thistle socks.

You may like my in-depth article on attracting House Finches.


7. European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Introduced to North America in the late 1800's, they crossed the continent, often to the detriment of native cavity-nesting birds. The prime example of an invasive species.


Photo of European Starling
European Starling. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: European Starlings are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: About the size of a Red-winged Blackbird. Smaller than an American Robin. Larger than a White-crowned Sparrow or Spotted/Eastern towhee. 

Shape: Stocky with large head, short square-ended tail. Longer legs. 

Bill: As long as head. Sharp pointed. Yellow in spring, otherwise dark. 

Color: They are grayish brown much of the year, with glossy iridescence and white spotting during the spring.

Habitat, range & behavior: Lowland birds that need trees large enough for nest cavities but plenty of open area for feeding. They are most abundant in urban and suburban areas where they find food and artificial nest cavities. 

Resident from coast-to-coast from southern Canada to northern Mexico. In summer north across Canada and Alaska. Native range is Europe to Pakistan, north Africa. 

Often viewed as a pest, starlings often bully other backyard birds, taking over bird feeders, and stealing nest cavities from smaller native birds. 

In winter they can form into flocks of ten's of thousands.

Food and feeder preference: European Starlings eat primarily insects when available, often feeding on the ground. Discourage them from your backyard hopper and tray feeders by never feeding birds table scraps (including bread or meat). They have weak feet and do not perch well on tube feeders. A cage mesh around smaller hopper feeders may keep them out.


8. Black-billed Magpie

Pica hudsonia

This large flashy bird with a long tail is a ranchland bird in the West. The only similar bird in North America is the Yellow-billed Magpie of the Central Valley of California.


Photo of Black-billed Magpie foraging on the ground
Black-billed Magpie. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Black-billed Magpies are year-round residents in Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: About the size of an American Crow, but with a longer tail. 

Shape: Thick neck, large head, strong legs. A very long pointed tail; the distance from the base of the tail to the tip of the tail is nearly as long as from the base of the tail to the tip of the bill. Wings are broad and rounded at the tips. 

Bill: Stout, nearly as long as head. 

Color: Black head, breast, back. White shoulders and belly. Wings black above with bluish or greenish sheen; most of the primaries are white. Tails is blackish with an iridescent blue-green sheen.

Habitat, range & behavior: Magpies are found in dry open country, ranches, farms, scattered open pine lands and riparian thickets. 

They are residents from southern Alaska to the Great Basin and Great Plains to the Dakotas and south to New Mexico. 

Fly with slow wing beats and deep wing strokes displaying large white wing patches. Social. Perch on fence posts. Forage on ground. Calls are noisy, raspy, querulous "yak?"

Food and feeder preference: Omnivore as crows, eating carrion, berries, seeds, nuts, human garbage, pet food. Birders generally don't want this species at their bird feeders. Locals often view these birds as pests.


9. Dark-eyed Junco

Junco hyemalis

Colloquially called "snowbirds," they often arrive in backyards in winter from nearby mountain forests or more northern climes.


Photo of Dark-eyed Junco on a railing
Dark-eyed Junco. Photo by Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Dark-eyed Juncos are year-round residents throughout most of Wyoming, winter visitors only in southeastern Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: Small birds about the size of a House Finch. 

Shape: Round body, short neck, round head, fairly long square-ended tail. 

Bill: Short, pointed, conical, pink. 

Color: Eastern birds are a darker all-gray with white belly. Western birds (those breeding in California and pictured above) have jet black hood over head, brown back, white belly and pink sides. Females paler.

Habitat, range & behavior: Breed in coniferous forests. Winters widely. Avoids heavy brush, preferring widely spaced bushes. 

Breeds across most of Canada, Alaska, and the western half of the United States. Winters from southern Canada and all of the lower 48-states to extreme northern Mexico. 

Spend much of their time hopping and feeding on the ground.

Food and feeder preference: Dark-eyed Juncos eat mostly seeds, also insects in summer. Readily feed at backyard feeders on mixed seeds on hopper or tray feeders and ground.

You may like my in-depth article on attracting Dark-eyed Juncos.


10. American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos

This larger all-black bird is common in cities and country. Its cawing call is familiar to most people.


Photo of American Crow
American Crow. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: American Crows are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. 

Size: About 17-1/2 inches long from bill tip to tail tip, though there is much size variation throughout its range. Larger than blackbirds and grackles. Smaller than ravens. 

Shape: Thick neck, large head, rather short square-ended tail. Longer legs. In flight has rounded wing tips with each primary feather separated from others forming "fingers." 

Bill: As long as head, thick, black. 

Color: Glossy black throughout.

Habitat, range & behavior: They prefer open areas with trees, fields, farms, cities. 

They are common across most of the United States lower-48, except in the desert southwest. They move into southern Canada in summer. 

They gather in evening communal roosts in large flocks that may number into the thousands and then move out at dawn into the surrounding area.

Food and feeder preference: Omnivorous, they feed on large insects, grain, small mammals, carrion. You probably don't want these large entirely black birds in your backyard feeders. So don't feed table scraps to birds.


11. Western Meadowlark

Sturnella neglecta

These are beautiful songsters of the prairie grasslands.


Photo of Western Meadowlark on fenceline
Western Meadowlark. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Western Meadowlarks are summer residents throughout Wyoming, year-round residents in southeastern Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: Bigger than a European Starling, smaller than an American Robin.

Shape: Stocky and pot-bellied, with short tail and flat forehead profile.

Bill: Long, straight, and sharp pointed.

Color: Straw and brown-colored upper parts. Bright yellow below with black necklace. White outer tail feathers. Duller in winter.

Habitat, range, & behavior: Fields, pastures, prairies.

The summer across the West from the Great Lakes to the Pacific, and western Canada to western Texas, and into Mexico. Move out of Canada in winter and spread to Gulf Coast.

Forage on fields and bare grounds, often found with cattle. In flocks in winter.

Foods and feeder preference: Grain and insects. They do not come to feeders.


12. Black-capped Chickadee

Poecile atricapillus

This is a common backyard bird in the northern half of the United States.


Photo of Black-capped Chickadee on bird bath
Black-capped Chickadee. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: Black-capped Chickadees are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: Chickadees are small birds, the same general size as an American Goldfinch. 

Shape: Round body, big round head, long tail with rounded tip. 

Bill: Short, straight, stout. 

Color: Gray above, buffy below. Black cap and bib with white lower face. White edges on wing feathers.

Habitat, range & behavior: Deciduous and mixed forests. 

They range from the northern half of the United States, southern half of Canada, and most of Alaska. 

Small flocks flit actively from tree to tree acrobatically gleaning insects from twig tips. In winter chickadees make up the core of mixed-species flocks also containing nuthatches, kinglets, creepers, woodpeckers and others.

Food and feeder preference: Seeds, insects, berries. They eat at tube, hopper and tray feeders. They love black oil sunflower seeds and suet.

You may like my in-depth article on attracting Black-capped Chickadees.


13. Yellow-rumped Warbler

Setophaga coronata

An abundant winter visitor in California to tree tops and weedy areas.


Photo of Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Yellow-rumped Warblers are summer residents throughout most of Wyoming, spring and fall migrants only in eastern Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: Small, they are a bit larger than chickadees and goldfinches. They are smaller than House Finches and juncos. 

Shape: Plump and neckless with a shorter tail. 

Bill: Short, slender, straight, pointed. 

Color: Breeding plumage in spring is blue-gray on the upper parts, black sides and chest, yellow rump, yellow on sides. Two forms: western form with yellow throat and large white wing patch; eastern and northern form with white throat and two white wing bars. In winter plumage both forms are gray brown above, pale cream below. Yellow rump and white tail corners in flight.

Habitat, range & behavior: In breeding season mostly in coniferous or mixed forests, in mountains in west. In winter open areas with fruiting shrubs and scattered trees. 

Breed across Canada and Alaska and in conifer forests in the west. Winter along both coasts and the southern states through Middle America. There are also non-migratory forms in Mexico and Guatemala. 

They tend to forage in outer branches about half way up the tree.

Food and feeder preference: Yellow-rumped Warblers eat mainly insects in the summer. They switch to waxy berries and fruit in winter. They are thus able to winter farther north than other warblers. They are attracted to suet feeders.


14. Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura

Mourning Doves are the most widespread and most frequent backyard bird in the Lower 48 states of the United States.


Photo of Mourning Dove in a tree
Mourning Dove. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Mourning Doves are year-round residents throughout most of Wyoming, summer residents only in northern Wyoming.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. 

Size: About 12 inches long from bill tip to tail tip. About same size as Northern Flicker. Larger than American Robin. Slightly smaller than domestic city pigeon. 

Shape: Very plump with a small round head. Tail is long and pointed. Legs are short. 

Bill: Small and rather slender. 

Color: Pale brown-pink body, darker wings and tail. White edges on side of tail.

Habitat, range & behavior: Semi-open areas such as urban areas, farmlands, woods. Often seen perched on wires, fences. 

It is a resident across the lower-48 states and Mexico, with some movement out of northern areas in winter. 

Their mournful cooing is a familiar spring birdsong.

Food and feeder preference: Mourning Doves eat seeds almost exclusively. Attract with black oil sunflower seeds on a large sturdy tray feeder or on the ground.


15. Mountain Chickadee

Poecile gambelli

These chickadees are found in mountain forests of the West.


Photo of Mountain Chickadee on branch
Mountain Chickadee. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Mountain Chickadees are year-round residents in western Wyoming and scattered mountains throughout.

Identification:

Size: Small birds, smaller than finches and sparrows.

Shape: Round fluffy body. Large round head. Long penduline tail. Strong legs and feet.

Bill: Short and stout.

Color: Gray with black crown and throat. White eyebrow line.

Habitat, range, & behavior: Found in mountain pine forests.

Western Canada and the United States in pine forests at high elevations.

Feed in small straggling flocks. Acrobatically hang from tips of twigs to feed.

Food and feeder preference: Beetles and other insects, seeds. Readily come to hopper feeders for black oil sunflower seeds.


16. American Goldfinch

Spinus tristis

A beautiful tiny finch familiar to many in its bright yellow summer plumage. Colloquially called a "wild canary."


Photo of American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: American Goldfinches are year-round residents in most of Wyoming, summer residents only in eastern Wyoming.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. 

Size: Very small at about 5 inches from bill tip to tail tip. Similar in size to a chickadee. Larger than hummingbirds. Smaller than juncos and House Finches. 

Shape: Tiny, somewhat plump with larger head and short tail. 

Bill: Short, conical, pink. 

Color: Males in summer are bright lemon yellow with black forehead and black wings and tail with white bars. White under tail coverts. Females dull olive, wings and tail browner. Winter birds are pale grayish-yellow with tan and brown wings and tail.

Habitat, range & behavior: This species is found in weedy fields and similar clearings with thistles and similar plants. 

It is found coast-to-coast throughout the year across most of the middle lower-48 states. In summer moves north to the Canada border. In the winter found south to the Mexico border. 

The flight is highly undulating, rising and falling as they flap in short bursts. 

Besides a long, sweet lilting song, they call in flight a lilting 4-part: "potato chip!"

Food and feeder preference: Feeds on weed seeds, thistle seed. May eat black oil sunflower seeds from tube feeder. Love Nyjer seed in a feeder called a "thistle sock."

You may like my in-depth article on attracting American Goldfinches.


17. Common Grackle

Quiscalus quiscula

Sometimes considered a pest to crops, grackles are longer and lankier than very similar blackbirds.


Photo of Common Grackle on bird bath
Common Grackle. GeorgiaLens from Pixabay


Range in Wyoming: Common Grackles are summer residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: Larger than Red-winged Blackbirds, they are near the length of Mourning Doves. 

Shape: Long, with long full keel-shaped tail, long legs, flat crown. 

Bill: Longer than head, pointed, but stouter than other blackbirds. 

Color: Glossy black with hint of bronze or green on head (depending upon population). Yellow eye.

Habitat, range & behavior: They are found in agricultural areas, woodland edges, city parks and lawns. 

Resident in the southeastern United States. In summer they migrate northward and west to the central United States and Canada. 

They monopolize feeders and are bullies toward other birds.

Food and feeder preference: Grain, corn, acorns, small aquatic fish and amphibians. To discourage them, use tube feeders, rather than hopper or tray feeders. Don't over-feed, keep spilled seed picked up.


18. Pine Siskin

Spinus pinus

These are streaky goldfinch-like birds. Often found in flocks. Irregularly, following a poor cone crop in the north, they move far south in winter, showing up well south of their usual winter range.


Photo of Pine Siskins in birdbath
Pine Siskin. Greg Gillson


Range in Wyoming: Pine Siskins are winter visitors throughout Wyoming, year-round residents in northwestern and southeastern Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: Tiny bird, the size of American Goldfinch. Smaller than other finches and sparrows.

Shape: Small round head. Short forked tail.

Bill: Short. Wide at the base, straight and sharply pointed.

Color: Heavily streaked with brown. Wing bars. Patches of yellow in wing and base of tail. Much individual variation from dull brown to brighter yellow.

Habitat, range, & behavior: Montane forests, conifer, birch, alder. Lowlands in winter.

Summers across Canada and the West into Mexico. Also breed from Midwest to Northeast states bordering Canada. Winters from southern Canada and throughout the United States, but varying in numbers from year-to-year in southern portions.

Feed in tree tops, often in large swirling flocks.

Food and feeder preference: Eat cone seeds. Love black oil sunflower seeds from tube feeder. Love Niger seed at thistle feeders.


19. Red-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta canadensis

These small birds are common in conifer groves and mountain forests.


Photo of Red-breasted Nuthatch on branch
Red-breasted Nuthatch. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Red-breasted Nuthatches are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: Smaller than Black-capped Chickadees and American Goldfinches, larger than kinglets.

Shape: Compact body with large head on short neck. Stubby tail.

Bill: Fairly long and sharp-pointed.

Color: Dark blue-gray back and upper parts. Black crown and line through eye, showing long white eyebrow. White face and rusty underparts. Females paler.

Habitat, range & behavior: Conifer trees in forests and residential areas.

Found from Alaska and across Canada, mountains of Northeast and much of the West. Winter visitor south throughout most of the United States.

Crawls actively on bark on tree trunks and around smaller branches, often head-first down the tree.

Food and feeder preference: Eat insects and invertebrates. Cache nuts and seeds in fall to eat later in the winter. At feeders eat sunflower seeds, peanuts, other nuts from hopper and tube feeders, and suet.


20. Song Sparrow

Melospiza melodia

A common bird, but variable, and similar to many other streaked brown sparrows.


Photo of Song Sparrow in bush
Song Sparrow. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Song Sparrows are year-round residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: A smaller bird, similar in size to House Finch and juncos. Larger than chickadees and goldfinches. Smaller than White-crowned Sparrows or Spotted/Eastern towhees. 

Shape: Plump with round head, long rounded tail. 

Bill: Short, conical. 

Color: Highly variable in darkness and color saturation across its range (dark rusty to pale gray). Generally gray-brown above with dark brown streaking on back. Complicated head pattern. Streaking on sides and breast converge into dense central breast spot.

Habitat, range & behavior: Thickets, especially near water. Backyard shrubbery. 

Resident in western United States, western Canada, coastal southern Alaska, northeastern US. In summer also moves into mid-Canada and northern half of US. In the winter found in most of the US lower-48. Also a population in central Mexico.

Forages on ground, never far from low cover to which they fly if startled.

Food and feeder preference: Song Sparrows feed on seeds and insects near the ground. Will visit hopper and tray feeders for mixed bird seed.


21. Cliff Swallow

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

These colonial-nesting birds build gourd-shaped mud nests on cliffs, under the eaves of barns, and under highway overpasses. You will most often notice them in flight.


Photo of Cliff Swallow on fence wire
Cliff Swallow. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Cliff Swallows are summer residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: Small birds, smaller than House Finches, larger than American Goldfinches.

Shape: In flight note round head, short square tail, pointed wings.

Bill: Short, wide.

Color: Dark blue back with pale stripes, dark wings and tail. Pale under parts. Large buff rump patch. Crown dark blue. Throat dark rusty. White forehead.

Habitat, range, and behavior: Fly over open country, canyons, farmlands.

In summer they occur nearly everywhere from Alaska and Canada southward through Mexico. Leave entire region in winter.

Fly high chasing bugs, skimming over ponds, trapping them against cliffs. In spring you may note them at mud puddles scooping up bills full of mud to build their nests. In fall migration more likely to be noted on roadside wires.

Food and feeder preference: Feed on flying insects. Do not occur at feeder.


22. Violet-green Swallow

Tachycineta thalassina


Photo of Violet-green Swallow on branch
Violet-green Swallow. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Violet-green Swallows are summer residents throughout most of Wyoming, absent in northeastern Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: About the size of American Goldfinches, but with longer wings.

Shape: Round head, thicker chest and long thin body. Very short tail. Long pointed wings.

Bill: Very short and wide.

Color: Lime green upper back, violet lower back. White sides to rump. Black wings and tail. White underparts and face that nearly encircles eyes.

Habitat, range & behavior: Open skies above forests and residential areas.

Summers from Alaska, western Canada, and the western US and Mexico. Winters in southern Mexico.

Food and feeder preference: Flying insects caught on the wing. Do not come to bird feeders, but will use bird houses.


23. Chipping Sparrow

Spizella passerina

Chipping Sparrows are a widespread species adapted to human disturbance. They are rather tame. They are frequently found in cemeteries with large trees.


Photo of a Chipping Sparrow on a white headstone
Chipping Sparrow. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Chipping Sparrows are summer residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: These are small sparrows, bigger than goldfinches or chickadees, but smaller than House Finches or Song Sparrows. 

Shape: Plump and fairly long-tailed. 

Bill: Short and conical. 

Color: Striped brown and dark brown above. Grayish under parts. Black line through eye. Crown streaked in winter but in summer becomes solid chestnut. Two white wing bars. 

Habitat, range & behavior: Grassy open conifer woodlands with some shrubs, parks, orchards. 

Breeds from Alaska, across Canada and south into highlands of Middle America. In winter retreats from northern areas to southern United States and northern Mexico. 

In summer solitary or in pairs. In winter they forage in flocks of up to 50 birds. 

Food and feeder preference: Weed seeds, supplemented with insects in summer. They may eat black oil sunflower seeds in your feeder, but more likely will feed on mixed seeds on the ground under the feeder.


24. Western Wood-Pewee

Contopus sordidulus

These birds sing their burry pee-wee, pee-year song into summer and throughout the day.


Photo of Western Wood-Pewee on stick
Western Wood-Pewee. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Western Wood-Pewees are summer residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: Just slightly bigger than a House Finch.

Shape: Large head and big chest, long wings and tail. Upright posture.

Bill: Medium length compared to head, but wide at base and flat. Mostly dark, with a touch of yellow-orange at base of lower mandible.

Color: A dull gray-green-brown. Two broad pale wing bars. Under parts pale with grayish sides, often show yellow on the belly when in shade. 

Habitat, range & behavior: A bird of open woodlands.

Summer resident from Alaska, western Canada, western United States and into Mexico. Winters in South America.

These larger flycatchers sit motionless on tip of dead branch, then fly out to snap up a flying insect, then return to their original perch again.

Food and feeder preference: Feed on flying insects. Do not come to feeders.


25. Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

These swallows are widely distributed throughout the world, primarily breeding in the northern hemisphere, and wintering in the mid-latitudes and southern hemisphere.


Photo of a Barn Swallow on a barbed wire fence
Barn Swallow. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Barn Swallows are summer residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: About the size of a House Finch but with a much longer tail. 

Shape: Stocky, short necked but with long body and tail. Tail is forked, with very long outer tail feathers. Wings pointed. 

Bill: Short, wide. 

Color: Glossy dark purplish-blue above. Pinkish-orange below. 

Habitat, range & behavior: Barn Swallows live in open country, frequently near humans. Farmlands. Nest in barns, under small bridges. 

In North America breed from Mexico to northern Canada and Alaska, wintering from southern Mexico throughout most of South America. 

Frequently seen swooping low over the ground hunting flying insects. Perch on wires, fences. Voice is twitters and chirps with grating sounds. 

Food and feeder preference: Eat flying insects on the wing and are not attracted to backyard feeders.


26. Mountain Bluebird

Sialia currucoides

These beautiful bluebirds are found in the West at higher elevations than Western Bluebirds.


Photo of Mountain Bluebird on branch
Mountain Bluebird. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Mountain Bluebirds are summer residents throughout Wyoming.

Identification:

Size: Bigger than a junco or house finch, much smaller than a robin. Tiny compared to any jay.

Shape: Plump, short neck. Big head. Tail rather short.

Bill: Stout. Medium length compared of rest of head. Slightly curved on top.

Color: Males are sky blue, paler below. Females are pale gray with bluish highlights in wing and tail.

Habitat, range, & behavior: Found in mountain meadows and forest burns or other openings. In winter descend to short grass meadows, pastures.

Found in juniper and pine forests surrounding Great Basin Desert, north to Yukon. Year-round resident from eastern Oregon to northern New Mexico. Winters south of Canada to central Mexico.

Look for these birds on fence lines in pastures in winter. Fluttering down to ground for insects.

Food and feeder preference: Insects. Do not readily come to feeders, but do want bird boxes in their breeding range.


27. Brewer's Blackbird

Euphagus cyanocephalus

This blackbird is common in the West.


Photo of a Brewer's Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird. Greg Gillson.


Range in Wyoming: Brewer's Blackbirds are summer residents throughout Wyoming, year-round residents in western Wyoming.

Identification: 

Size: The size of a Red-winged Blackbird. Larger than a White-crowned Sparrow. Smaller than an American Robin.

Shape: Well proportioned. Somewhat pot bellied. Long tail. Flatter forehead profile.

Bill: As long as head. Sharp pointed. Straight. Thick base.

Color: Males are shiny black, glossed with purple on head. Yellow eye. Females are dull gray with brown eyes.

Habitat, range, and behavior: They like open country, open woods, shores, towns, powerlines.

Resident in the West, also in Great Plains from Great Lakes westward in northern United States and southern Canada. In winter withdraw from Great Plains and winter across the southern United States from Florida to most of Mexico.

Form large flocks in winter. Often found in parking lots near fast food restaurants.

Food and feeder preference: Eat seeds, grain, and insects. Will come to platform feeders or feed on the ground for seeds, suet.





Common Birds in Wyoming (Lists of most common feeder birds and most common backyard birds by season)


To determine how common each species is I used the data from actual bird sightings from the citizen science program eBird. Birds are listed by frequency. That is, how often the species is recorded on checklists submitted to eBird (a percentage).

When choosing the birds to include in this article I leaned strongly to birds that are present throughout the year in good numbers. Thus, many of the common birds are year-round residents. This means that they live in the same location all year. They raise their young in your neighborhood. They don't migrate. Or if the species does migrate, the ones living in your area don't. If this is the case, some migrants may move into your area during certain times of year, adding to the same species that are in your yard full time.

Some migrant birds visit your yard during the “summer.” Often they arrive in spring and remain until late fall. They nest and raise their young in your neighborhood. These are the summer residents.

Other migrant birds visit your backyard during the “winter.” Some of these winter visitors may arrive in July and remain into April. Others may only be found in the cold of December or January. They key here is that they nest and raise their young somewhere else. They only visit your yard in the non-breeding season.

Migration is an amazing spectacle. There will be birds that fly through your region in spring or fall (or both). They may visit your backyard only a few days or weeks a year. They aren't regular enough, or stay long enough, to be included in this article. But the number of briefly visiting migrant birds could double the number of species presented here. You may see them over time. Consult checklists in eBird for your county to see what is possible.

I have generally excluded common waterfowl, birds of prey, shorebirds, seabirds, and others that aren't usually found in residential areas. But they may certainly fly over, or be seen regularly if your home is on a shoreline, for instance.



Most common backyard birds in Wyoming throughout the year


The following list is the backyard birds that are, on average, most common throughout the entire year. The list is ordered by most common based on the frequency of how often each species is recorded on checklists submitted to eBird.


The most common backyard birds throughout the year in the state of Wyoming, in order, are these:

  1. American Robin (37% frequency)
  2. Northern Flicker (22%)
  3. Red-winged Blackbird (21%)
  4. House Sparrow (21%)
  5. Eurasian Collared-Dove (21%)
  6. House Finch (20%)
  7. European Starling (20%)
  8. Black-billed Magpie (19%)
  9. Dark-eyed Junco (17%)
  10. American Crow (16%)
  11. Western Meadowlark (15%)
  12. Black-capped Chickadee (14%)
  13. Yellow-rumped Warbler (13%)
  14. Mourning Dove (13%)
  15. Mountain Chickadee (12%)
  16. American Goldfinch (12%)
  17. Common Grackle (11%)
  18. Pine Siskin (11%)
  19. Red-breasted Nuthatch (10%)
  20. Song Sparrow (10%)



Most common backyard birds in Wyoming in winter


The following list is the backyard birds that are most common in winter. The list is ordered by most common based on the frequency of how often each species is recorded on checklists submitted to eBird.


The most common backyard birds in Wyoming in winter (December through February) are these:

  1. House Sparrow (31% frequency)
  2. Eurasian Collared-Dove (31%)
  3. House Finch (29%)
  4. Black-billed Magpie (27%)
  5. Black-capped Chickadee (24%)
  6. Dark-eyed Junco (22%)
  7. American Crow (21%)
  8. Northern Flicker (21%)
  9. European Starling (21%)
  10. Mountain Chickadee (14%)
  11. Red-breasted Nuthatch (12%)



Most common backyard birds in Wyoming in summer


The following list is the backyard birds that are most common in summer (June and July). The list is ordered by most common based on the frequency of how often each species is recorded on checklists submitted to eBird.


The most common backyard birds in Wyoming in summer (June and July) are these:

  1. American Robin (49% frequency)
  2. Red-winged Blackbird (24%)
  3. Northern Flicker (21%)
  4. Western Meadowlark (19%)
  5. Mourning Dove (19%)
  6. Cliff Swallow (18%)
  7. Violet-green Swallow (16%)
  8. Chipping Sparrow (16%)
  9. Pine Siskin (16%)
  10. Yellow-rumped Warbler (15%)
  11. Common Grackle (15%)
  12. Western Wood-Pewee (15%)
  13. Black-billed Magpie (15%)
  14. Barn Swallow (14%)
  15. Mountain Bluebird (14%)
  16. Brewer's Blackbird (14%)
  17. House Sparrow (14%)


House Sparrows, Eurasian Collared-Doves, House Finches, Black-billed Magpies, Black-capped Chickadees are more common in winter than in summer in Wyoming.

American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Cliff Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, Chipping Sparrows, Western Wood-Pewees, Barn Swallows are more common in summer than in winter in Wyoming.





Common Backyard Birds of Cheyenne, Wyoming


Photo of House Finch on tree top
House Finch. Greg Gillson


The following list uses eBird data to create a list of common backyard birds in Cheyenne. The city of Cheyenne is in Laramie County. I will use the data for Laramie County to represent the birds of the Cheyenne area.

Birds in Laramie are similar to those in Cheyenne.


Here are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Cheyenne:

  1. Eurasian Collared-Dove (43% frequency)
  2. House Finch (39%)
  3. American Robin (38%)
  4. House Sparrow (38%)
  5. American Crow (31%)
  6. Red-winged Blackbird (25%)
  7. Northern Flicker (25%)
  8. Mourning Dove (25%)
  9. European Starling (23%)
  10. Common Grackle (21%)
  11. Dark-eyed Junco (20%)
  12. Western Meadowlark (20%)
  13. American Goldfinch (17%)
  14. Red-breasted Nuthatch (16%)



Eurasian Collared-Doves, House Finches, House Sparrows, American Crows, Mourning Doves, Common Grackles are more common in Cheyenne than the state average for Wyoming.





Common Backyard Birds of Jackson, Wyoming


The following list uses eBird data to create a list of common backyard birds in Jackson. The city of Jackson is in Teton County. I will use the data for Teton County to represent the birds of the Jackson area.


Here are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Jackson:

  1. American Robin (41% frequency)
  2. Yellow-rumped Warbler (24%)
  3. Black-billed Magpie (23%)
  4. Dark-eyed Junco (22%)
  5. Mountain Chickadee (22%)
  6. Northern Flicker (20%)
  7. Chipping Sparrow (19%)
  8. Pine Siskin (17%)
  9. Black-capped Chickadee (17%)
  10. Mountain Bluebird (17%)
  11. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (16%)  Learn about this species on eBird
  12. White-crowned Sparrow (15%)  Learn about this species on eBird
  13. Red-winged Blackbird (15%)
  14. Song Sparrow (15%)



Yellow-rumped Warblers, Mountain Chickadees are more common in Jackson than the state average for Wyoming.





Common Backyard Birds of Gillette, Wyoming


The following list uses eBird data to create a list of common backyard birds in Gillette. The city of Gillette is in Campbell County. I will use the data for Campbell County to represent the birds of the Gillette area.


Here are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Gillette:

  1. American Robin (54% frequency)
  2. House Sparrow (49%)
  3. Western Meadowlark (47%)
  4. Eurasian Collared-Dove (42%)
  5. Mourning Dove (41%)
  6. European Starling (40%)
  7. Common Grackle (39%)
  8. House Finch (34%)
  9. Red-winged Blackbird (31%)
  10. Northern Flicker (29%)
  11. American Goldfinch (26%)
  12. Black-capped Chickadee (25%)
  13. Yellow-rumped Warbler (23%)
  14. Red-breasted Nuthatch (23%)
  15. Cedar Waxwing (19%)  Learn about this species on eBird
  16. Western Wood-Pewee (18%)
  17. Western Kingbird (18%)  Learn about this species on eBird
  18. Brown-headed Cowbird (17%)  Learn about this species on eBird
  19. Brewer's Blackbird (17%)


American Robins, House Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, Eurasian Collared-Doves, Mourning Doves, European Starlings, Common Grackles, House Finches, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches are more common in Gillette than the state average for Wyoming.





Common Backyard Birds of Casper, Wyoming


The following list uses eBird data to create a list of common backyard birds in Casper. The city of Casper is in Natrona County. I will use the data for Natrona County to represent the birds of the Casper area.


Here are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Casper:

  1. American Robin (47% frequency)
  2. Northern Flicker (41%)
  3. House Sparrow (38%)
  4. European Starling (37%)
  5. Black-capped Chickadee (36%)
  6. House Finch (30%)
  7. Blue Jay (27%)  Learn about this species on eBird
  8. Mourning Dove (25%)
  9. Common Grackle (25%)
  10. Red-winged Blackbird (25%)
  11. Western Meadowlark (24%)
  12. Eurasian Collared-Dove (22%)
  13. Black-billed Magpie (21%)
  14. American Goldfinch (17%)



American Robins, Northern Flickers, House Sparrows, European Starlings, Black-capped Chickadees, House Finches, Blue Jays, Mourning Doves, Common Grackles are more common in Casper than the average for the state of Wyoming.





Related:

34 of the most common birds in the United States (with photos)

Red, Orange, & Yellow Birds of Wyoming





6 comments:

  1. Saved a bird from a cat today. Medium size. Red under the wings. 2 inch curved beak. Can’t seem to locate a picture of it anywhere. I am in Wyoming

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty certain your bird is Northern Flicker. It is the second bird illustrated in this article.

      Delete
  2. Saved a bird from a cat today. Medium size. Red under the wings. 2 inch curved beak. Can’t seem to locate a picture of it anywhere. I am in Wyoming

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great information from us backyard bird watchers❤️

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for visiting! Would you please leave a comment to let me know what you thought and how I can make this resource better for you?

--Greg--

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